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[Chess] The Manly Man's Turn-Based Strategy Game

Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Critical Failures
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I’m thinking it’s time for another chess thread. No tournaments here (yet), just discussion and a list of people that want to play.


Where can we play?

Chess.com - offers iPhone, Android, Palm Pre, mobile phone app
Yahoo! Chess
GameKnot
Pogo
Red Hot Pawn - offers iPhone app
FICS - Free Internet Ches Server - One of the most well-known; lots of applications support FICS play

There’s a couple of reason I prefer Chess.com over some of the other sites I’ve tried, and here's my long-winded explanation:
1) Free iPhone, Palm Pre, mobile phone, and Android apps for playing your turn-based games. It doesn’t get much cooler than this. I’ve used the iPhone and Android apps (with my wife’s iPod Touch and my Droid), and both versions are awesome. Check your games any time, anywhere, pretty much regardless of what mobile device you're using.

2) The turn-based play is fantastic. Set moves for 1, 3, 5 day limits. There’s an “Analysis” board where you can make scratch moves and plan ahead, sections for taking down notes and writing ideas, and it allows you to export and save all your games as .pgn files for later reference. Simply put, I haven’t seen a nicer setup on the web.

3) It’s a really robust system that’s available for FREE. There are, of course, subscription plans available but for just playing against other people it’s amazing how much you can get for nothing. Vacation time (putting your games on hold while you're out of town so you don't time out) is available regardless of membership level.

Right now fellow PA member npc and I are playing at chess.com, but I’d love to get more people on the site. You can create a Group if you have a premium account, something I’ve been toying with. Groups can play each other, have tournaments, and have a cool logo. I think if enough people showed interest in having an official PA group I might fork over the dough (I think it’s like $30 a year for the low end account), but we’ll bridge that cross when we get to it.
Having said I'll that, I'll admit I've never used GameKnot, though it looks really, really nice. I know the last thread was using that site for their tournament.

I’m not sure if I want to play; I suck at chess

It's ok, so do the rest of us. The best way to get better at something is to DO it. If we all get together and start some turn-based playing, you won’t have much a choice but to keep up on your games, lest the threat of cowardly forfeit hang over your head. Even in the worst ass-kicking you’ll ever receive, you can at least see how it’s done. Plus, I don’t think any of us are Bobby Fischer so it’s probably not an issue.

Ok, but I still want to crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentations of their women.

Some suggestions for your chess enjoyment and improvement:
-Software
There are a ton of chess programs available. Chessmaster is usually recommended as a good educational tool, as it has lots of options as far as training and teaching tactics and strategy. It's currently on version 11, but 10 is probably just as good and a lot cheaper.

The best of the best of "Pro" chess applications I've read about are Fritz and Shredder. These have crazy good chess engines and a lot of nice features. They're geared more toward the "serious" player. Both cost a pretty penny, too. Fritz has an iPhone app that's really nice, and well worth the $6 or so if you enjoy playing on the go.

In the free realm, your software will usually come split up into the user interface client (the part with where you move the pieces) and the engine (the part what does the thinkin). Winboard is still used by most of the chess world, which only goes the prove that the chess world doesn't give a shit about nice user interfaces. An alternative that looks a little nicer and has some more features is Arena. You can use these clients with any number of chess engines, each of which plays with their own strength and personality.

Of course, if you want to see the pieces beat the living shit out of each other, there's always good old Battle Chess.

On the iPhone, if you don't want to shell out for Fritz, I would suggest Glaurung Chess.

For pgn playback and database analysis (this is getting into the deeper end of the nerd poo), the best option for free programs is SCID, which continues the long chess software tradition of having every feature you could possibly want (and more) while still looking like a program from Windows 3.11. If you can get past the looks and wade through the dense features, SCID is an amazing program.

Wtf is a pgn file?

A .pgn, or portable game notation file, is simply a small file (you can view it with your favorite text editor) that is the log of a game. You'll see they're very commonly used in chess software. Here’s an example:
[Event "Online Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2009.10.25"]
[Round "1"]
[White "arash tajdini"]
[Black "Michael Hermes"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1241"]
[BlackElo "1334"]
[TimeControl "1 in 3 days"]

1. e4 e5 2. d3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. h3 Bc5 5. a3 O-O 6. b4 Bb6 7. b5 Ne7 8. Nxe5 d6 9. Nf3 Ba5+ 10. c3 c6 11. g4 d5 12. Bd2 dxe4 13. dxe4 Nxe4 14. Bg5 Nxc3 15. Qc2 Nxb1+ 16. Ke2 Nc3+ 17. Ke3 Bb6+ 18. Kf4 Ncd5+ 19. Kg3 Bc7+ 20. Kg2 f6 21. Bh4 Qd6 22. bxc6 Ne3+ 23. fxe3 g5 24. Bf2 bxc6 25. e4 a5 26. Bg3 Qxg3#  0-1
Note that even though it says "0-1", that doesn't mean a loss, it just means that Black (me) got the point for the win (woot). A white victory would read "1-0". Since pgn files are a pretty standardized format, any good chess program will allow you to load them to play back and study games.

-Books
Last time I counted, there are roughly 1.5 bajillion chess books in print. Everyone you ask will give you their own list of the "best" books to buy. I'll just list a few I've read and liked, as well as offer this single piece of advice: When picking out a chess books, a common pitfall for new players is to start with a book on openings. It seems natural, openings are at the beginning of the game, what better place to start? Openings can be important, but in my most humble opinion your time is better spent learning tactics (pins, forks, etc.) then worrying about what the possible iterations are of the King's Indian Defense.

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess wasn't actually written by Bobby Fischer (that's kind of a can of worms), but it's still a great book for beginners. It usually gets recommended.

Logical Chess: Move by Move goes through a bunch of grandmaster games and analyzes them move by move. Very neat, and usually a recommended intermediate book.

Right now I'm reading The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery, which is a good book for people that have read a lot of other chess books as it helps you to somewhat exploit the "rules of thumb" of the game. It's also really, really well written.

Finally, I'll just say that, while it kind of sucks at first, almost every book you read is going to transcribe games in algebraic chess notation. It's actually easy to get the hang of reading, and after a while you'll be able to blow through games and keep track mentally of what's going on and where all the pieces are. I've also found it helpful to follow through examples in a book with a board in front of me so I can move the pieces along with the game.

-Sites

For openings, it's actually hard to beat Wikipedia. Because chess people are the obsessive types that they are, there are extensive articles on most of the popular openings, outlining the goals and some of the main variations. There's more about the Ruy Lopez on Wikipedia than most people need to know.

For general knowledge and forums, I'm going to have to be a shill again for Chess.com. Just poke around there; you're bound to find something useful.

If you have a favorite site, let me know and I can post it here.

Let me know if I missed anything and I'll be happy to add it.

PA Members Looking To Play

PA Forum name - Chess site name

Chess.com:
Michael H = Michael_H (Note the underscore)
npc = npc
Sorcy = Sorcy

Redhotpawn.com:
Evil Multifarious = Evil Multifarious
Michael H = Michael H
notmetalenough = benborden

btw, I struggled with which forum to post this in. The other chess threads were all over the place, but I figured that since it's a Game it goes in the Games forum. Hopefully it's the right place to be.

Michael H on

Posts

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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I would like to play.

    I'm on www.redhotpawn.com as Evil Multifarious. I would suggest adding the site to the OP, as it is the best browser chess out there, and utterly free to play.

    However, this might get moved to Critical Failures as it is a boardgame.

    Evil Multifarious on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I would like to play.

    I'm on www.redhotpawn.com as Evil Multifarious. I would suggest adding the site to the OP, as it is the best browser chess out there, and utterly free to play.

    However, this might get moved to Critical Failures as it is a boardgame.

    Adding it now. I haven't heard of it; it looks great. I'll sign up for an account and check it out.

    Yes, I suppose Critical Failures does make sense, too.

    Michael H on
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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I have Chessmaster 10 and 11, and like them both, but I seem doomed to suck at chess. I understand a lot of the strategy, I just think I'm too impatient.

    Sir Carcass on
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    SorcySorcy Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Okay, signed up with chess.com, got me the android app, same username as here and am totally ready to get the crap beaten out of me.

    Sorcy on
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    TheCanManTheCanMan GT: Gasman122009 JerseyRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I just wanted to come in here and thank you for reminding me of the many hours I spent as a youngster playing Battle Chess.

    battlechmy0.jpg

    I giggled every single time a pawn would kick a knight in the nuts.

    TheCanMan on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Signed up at Red Hot Pawn. Looks like a nice site, though I was inadvertently dumped into two games right away. :/ Evil, I challenged you but it looks like you're at your max of 6 games at the moment.

    Michael H on
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    RyadicRyadic Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Sign me up. I'm not on any of the sites, except for maybe Yahoo since I have a Yahoo ID, but I'll play on any one. PM me for a game and I'll sign up on anyone of them that you want to play on.

    Ryadic on
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    notmetalenoughnotmetalenough Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I'm on RHP as benborden

    I'm open to playing, but haven't played in roughly two years so I'm a bit rusty.

    I recommend Dan Heisman's articles and books.

    His website is a bit 90s, but there's good info there and he's passionate about chess.

    http://home.comcast.net/~danheisman/Main_Chess/chess.htm

    His Back to Basics: Tactics, book is a good place for beginners to start.

    notmetalenough on
    Samael the Radiant Faced-- Official Naming, Going Nuclear, Click on the Quest, Make She Run and Guild Measurements Officer - Clawshrimp & Co, Draenor-US
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Michael H wrote: »
    Signed up at Red Hot Pawn. Looks like a nice site, though I was inadvertently dumped into two games right away. :/ Evil, I challenged you but it looks like you're at your max of 6 games at the moment.

    try it again, i resolved a couple of them

    Evil Multifarious on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    You should see the game now, Evil.

    Anyone ever played Fischer Random (aka Chess 960?)

    I just got an application that supports that for my phone and it's actually a lot of fun. The basic gist is that your pieces (but not pawns) are placed in a semi-random pattern. Semi-random in the sense that your king is always between the rooks (so you can castle) and your bishops will still always be on opposite colors. It takes out the entire opening book, which I have to say makes the game a lot more fun.

    Not something I'd want to play all the time, but it definitely shakes the game up a little bit and keeps it interesting.

    edit: Looks like chess.com supports 960. I just saw it now, under "Advanced Options" when you create a new game/challenge.

    Michael H on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    a lot of people think Chess960 is superior to classic chess, because the normal game is so dependent on memorization of openings and is often won based on rote book learning because of it

    Evil Multifarious on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Man I've been playing some more 960 games on my phone and it's a blast. If anyone wants to try a game, let me know. It really turns the game on its head.

    Michael H on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I'm playing a bunch of games with people on the forum, so just as a heads up I'll be out of the country for the next week with limited access to the internet. I'll be burning up my "vacation time" on our games. See you when I get back!

    edit: Sorry Evil M., it looks like Red Hot Pawn doesn't let you use vacation time unless you're a subscribing member. : ( I'll just have to let our game lapse, unfortunately.

    Michael H on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ¡Hola amigos! Back in action after a week of beaches and fruity rum drinks. I see people have been tearing it up in this thread. Regardless, all games are caught up on.

    Michael H on
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    RyadicRyadic Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Is there a Droid app that one can use? I just got a droid about a week ago.

    Ryadic on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Chess.com has a really nice app for playing games on that site as well as against a computer.

    "Chess" by jwtc has a lot of nice features (including the aforementioned Fischer Random), though the UI is pretty boring.

    I've been thinking about shelling out the $4 for "Chess" by Odesys, but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

    The nicer, high-end mobile chess apps are still on the iPhone. :(

    edit: Just downloaded the Lite version of "Chess" (these apps need more original names) by Mobialia. It's a really nicely set up app. The full version has gotten pretty good reviews in the store and includes FICS play; I might get that one over Odesys. (Or maybe both?)

    Michael H on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It's like they read my mind! The Chess.com Android application is in the process of being upgraded to allow Chess960 games on your mobile device. Sweet.

    Michael H on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Finally picked up Chessmaster during the Steam sale. (Not a huge discount, but less than $20.)

    I have mixed feelings. I really don't like the interface, but I've yet to come across a chess application with a really well-designed, well thought out interface. What I do like is the post-game analysis, which shows you opportunities you may have missed or alternatives to better moves.

    Some of the 3D chess sets are okay, but I usually end up going back to 2D.

    Michael H on
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    Hi I'm Vee!Hi I'm Vee! Formerly VH; She/Her; Is an E X P E R I E N C E Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I was going to make a new OP of my own, but this one is so good (plus I'm lazy) so I'll just bump this thread!

    I've really been getting back into chess again lately. I got like 5 books from the library, including a book on the 1972 World Championship ("Bobby Fischer Goes To War") and "Searching for Bobby Fischer" which is apparently a true story and also the book that the fantastic movie was based on.

    I'm also involved in like 10 chess games on gameknot. I'm veeaych on gameknot.com so please come play with me!

    Hi I'm Vee! on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Hooray someone else that plays chess here. If you can get your hands on some Silman books I've been enjoying them a lot lately.

    I bought (and subsequently returned) the Shredder app for Android. It just didn't impress me for the steep price of $8. I like Chess by Mobialia ($2) better.

    Michael H on
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    Michael HMichael H Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I think that SCID is a wonderful program, but definitely has a steep learning curve. The SCID documentation isn't that helpful, either. I was pretty stoked when I found this video, though, that walks you through getting SCID set up and starting database searches pretty quickly.
    http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6461

    Michael H on
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